Watch: The Houtouts Headache

Goodlander and Max-Props
Yes, I’m a cheapskate, but in my opinion, Max-Props are worth every penny.
Fat Goodlund

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I know nothing about A’s wonderful America. The last time I did this was in the early 1980s. However, over the past 20 or so salvages in foreign waters, I’ve learned a thing or two about getting by on faraway shores.

Of course, my views may not represent yours. I had very little money, did all the work myself, and continued to live on the boat once I was out of the water. Also, I’m biased. I would rather haul at a family-run yard managed by boaters than at a company-owned yard run for the benefit of landlubber shareholders rather than individuals.

Is it wrong to admit it in print?

No Roclio. Our quality of life – my wife, myself and our boat – is important to us. Hauling is stressful. I remain committed to getting my boat back in the water as soon as possible and my wonderful cruising life back on track.

Obviously, I prefer being in a shipyard surrounded by like-minded people. It means workers and managers admire the determined sailors who work on their ships and don’t view us as cheap skaters trying to undermine the shipyard’s bottom line.

My favorite place to haul is New Zealand. Most yards are family run. There are dozens that allow you to work on your own boat. In Whangarei you’re just a short bike ride away from Dockland 5 Marine Ltd. and other wonderful yards to suit any of your needs. Even better, any marine product you need custom made, from small goggles to entire rigs, can be made locally. And the price is cheap. And trust. Even admiration.

wildcard hauling
What a difference one haul can make.
Fat Goodlund

I once had an expensive custom stainless steel exhaust flange made to my specifications. The manufacturer sent it to me to try on – not only before I paid for it, but before I had a chance to give him a deposit. This is how New Zealand farmers and boaters treat each other every day.

South Africa is another great place for shipping. Although no one ever worked on our ships, labor and shipyards were cheap there. We’ve been very lucky in the Caribbean, Trinidad, Australia and Malaysia – even the Mediterranean.

One of the weirdest, and best, yards we’ve ever towed was at Rebak Island Resort and Marina in Langkawi, Southeast Asia. It was so clean I had to go to the office and ask, “Are you sure you’re OK with me spray painting my boat here? I mean, I didn’t see a drop of antifouling agent anywhere. I’ve been to the doctor’s office , even hospitals, the dirtier places.”

It’s like dragging at the Ritz. Burmese waiters in white coats scurry around the courtyard in silk slippers with rolled-up toes. They were carrying silver trays filled with lobsters, crabs and who knows what else. (Caviar maybe?)

“This is the best resort I’ve ever been to,” my wife, Caroline, said with her mouth hanging open, frosted goggles hanging around her neck. The compound is managed by the Taj Mahal Hotel in India and they treated us like maharajas. See how much fun it is to drag in a nurturing environment?

Of course, language can be an issue. In Indonesia, many numbers sound the same, like 8, 18 and 80 in English, with people deliberately verbally citing lower numbers but then using higher ones. Buyer beware and get offers in writing.

Shipyards in Whangarei
In Whangarei I can never seem to stop grinding and any marine product you need can be made locally.
Fat Goodlund

Sometimes there is shoddy work. I looked at a yard on a small, flush hull of St. Martin’s epoxy resin. Who needs a siphon for an engine anyway?

In Thailand, a group of house painters were stunned when they learned how much it would cost to do Awlgrip work in the West. So they painted three yachts for half the price.

The red-hulled yacht on the port side and the blue-hulled yacht on the starboard side are also white. “Yes,” said one distraught owner. “Southeast Asia has the most expensive cheap labor in the world.”

On the other hand, you can get some amazing deals if you’re careful. In the same area of ​​Phuket, I went to a machine shop to make an item. The quote was $125 – a steal. I question this. No, the offer is firm. The piece was completed two days later and was constructed in a more labor-intensive manner than required. This is definitely a lovely piece of art.

“Guess not,” said the grease-covered mechanic. “It’s going fast. “Ninety-eight dollars, please. “

This reminds me of when I was in Malaysia and did some work on our chain plates. No one in the store spoke a word of English. Large overhead belts powered some equipment before World War II. Not only did they not take the credit card, they may have never seen one.

When it came time to pay for the work—which grew as the project progressed—I reached into my pocket and pulled out $300 for a change of clothes. They accepted the change. Just coins. Despite my best efforts, I couldn’t get them to accept any folded money. One man even put his hand on his chest as a sign of respect.

After arriving in Kerala, India, I didn’t want to carry several gallons of antifouling agent three blocks to the boat, so I took a cab. While loading paint between trucks, snake charmers, limbless beggars and rickshaws, I was too distracted to ask the price.

boat on stilts
wild card Work while sitting on the lower middle part of the stilts.
Fat Goodlund

Arriving at the destination a minute later, the driver concentrated and loudly announced, “One hundred dollars.” Given that the highest ticket price within Cochin city limits at the time was about 50 cents, this was probably the highest English figure the driver knew.

“Do you bring dollars?” I asked.

I took the George Washington out of my murse (male wallet) and handed it to him. His eyes were wide open. I pointed to the number on the dollar dime. “One,” I said. “One hundred cents.”

Cruel? Maybe. satisfied? some.

Oh, India is laughing every minute. I walked into a grocery store and a clerk smiled, bowed low, and asked, “Where are your distinguished guests from?”

“America,” I said.

“America’s No. 1!” the clerk cheered with a smile.

I purchased seven items. When I checked out, I noticed eight items on the receipt.

“Sir, you have good eyes, you have good eyes,” he said, dramatically crossing out the overcharge.

“That’s a pint of varnish, not a quart.”

“We use liters.” Understandable confusion. “

“This is a single universal block, not a Harken dual block.”

“Only a single digit off,” he said proudly.

“You’re trying to trick me,” I said, narrowing my eyes.

“Cheating!” I screamed. “How dare you! I will not deceive my respected visitors. On the graves of my respected ancestors, no!”

“Liar, liar, your pants are on fire,” I said directly.

“You have insulted the honor of India, sir!”

I had my bag and change thrown at me. Now I was smug because the bill of sale matched what was in my bag, so I left happily—until a block away, when I stopped to count the change. Damn it.

That evening, at a cocktail party at Cochin Technological University, I narrated my harrowing story. I expected sympathy, but was surprised to find the entire audience laughing.

“Ah,” one professor said proudly, “Indians never give up.”

Of course, none of this compares to Madagascar, where an entire abandoned World War II hospital was filled with sick people who cheated me out of $25. After I handed over the cash, they all grabbed their canes and dashed into the bush at Usain Bolt speed, high-fiving each other and jumping with joy.

But back to the shipyards in the tropics. Monkeys are a real problem. Not only will they wait to get on your boat while you’re having lunch and make a mess, they’ll steal your soap and eat it, or drink it if it’s dish soap, and blow rainbows out of the wrong places colored bubbles. End of a long day’s work.

Another common technique is the “jack shuffle.” Yard would replace our poppet valve every time workers trotted by. It took a real struggle to bring that yard bill back to reality.

Then there are the “110 shockers” who not only charge Americans twice as much for half the voltage, but also charge an extra $30 per day for the converter.

Monkeys are a real problem. Not only will they wait to get on your boat while you’re having lunch and make a mess, but they’ll also steal your soap and eat it.

A boatyard in Polynesia will pay a small fortune for small pieces of plastic to protect your topsides from rough, dirty slings. “Otherwise,” says the stylish elevator driver in a beret, “you might get stained on the top of your boots that you just fucked.”

On the plus side, they throw in a croissant every time you pass their “No Cash, No Spending” sign.

Don’t get me started on the scaffolding. Half of my life’s fights have been balancing on scaffolding planks and rusty, rickety 55-gallon drums.

We haven’t even considered the horror of having a Sri Lankan crew charge for Awlgrip and then spray exterior latex all over the vessel.

But of all the places in the world, our worst capture was on the Delmarva Peninsula in Maryland, where four very interested yard workers looked at Carolyn and took me off our rear cabin. Their main travel lift is in the blink of an eye. The four men watched us gleefully for four hours and then shamelessly charged us for an additional 16 hours of yard labor while gratefully saying: “Gee, we’ve never seen a couple lower the mizzenmast via the main halyard before .”

Sometimes, whether abroad or at home, you just can’t win.

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